HMS Vanguard brings the Royals to SA, 1947

A different time in South Africa.  Flagship, pomp and white carriages.

This is the first British Royal Tour of South Africa in 1947 by King George VI the then 21 year old Princess Elizabeth (the current Queen).

Here is HMS Vanguard that brought the Royals to Cape Town and it forms a majestic backdrop to the immaculate White train that was used for the tour through the Union of South Africa.

The Royal visit was intended to boost the relationship with South Africa after the Second World War, certainly in celebration of the British and South African successes supporting the crown in the fight against a Nazi Europe during WW2, which ended just two years earlier.  It was also intended to consolidate the Union government of Jan Smuts ahead of the 1948 elections the following year and support his campaign.

Although the Royal tour was an unprecedented success, with large scale public displays of loyalty to the crown wherever they went it did not prevent the National Party narrowly beating Jan Smut’s United Party in the 1948 elections.

The National Party were no fans of British royalty (a legacy carried over by the Boer War) and South Africa’s relationship with the British Crown and the Commonwealth of Nations was to be severed in the future years, only to be re-established again in 1994.

Queen Elizabeth was not to visit South Africa again until 1995 after the country’s re-admittance to the Commonwealth of Nations.

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